Fine lines, wrinkles and sagging used to be the hallmarks of aging skin. However, we now realize that not everyone’s skin ages the same way. For many, genetics play a big part in how the passing of time is marked on our face. Instead of deep wrinkles along the sides of our nose or across the forehead, some of us may instead start to develop age spots or dark spots from years of sun exposure. What most of us have in common is a decrease in skin cell turnover that results in a dull complexion. The likelihood of turning back the clock completely and achieving the sort of inner glow that babies’ skin naturally has may be slim but that doesn’t mean we can’t have skin brightening goals.
Unlike skin lightening which strives to alter the shade of the skin, skin brightening’s aim is to allow the skin to return to its natural luster. And because there are both intrinsic and extrinsic factor that can affect how dull our skin can appear, we’ve got 5 skin brightening tips that will speed you on your way to healthy, luminous skin:
- Exfoliate Regularly. We cannot emphasize this enough. As we age, our skin’s ability to shed dead skin cells decreases, leaving a dulling layer on top while preventing the newer, fresher skin from coming to the surface. Help things along by exfoliating on a regular basis. Cleansers or moisturizers containing alpha hydroxy acids will do the trick. Look for ones that contain glycolic acid, lactic acid or malic acid. If you want to go off the beaten path slightly, try our Apothekari Bespoke Vitamin C serum. Although vitamin C is mainly known for its free radical fighting properties, this skin care workhorse can also be used as a way to exfoliate on a daily basis thanks to its low pH level. By allowing the serum to penetrate the skin for 30 minutes prior to applying other treatments and products, the L-ascorbic acid will help to “dissolve” the glue that holds skin cells together, very much like AHA’s, thus revealing the newer, fresher skin underneath.
- Boost Collagen Production. After the age of 30, we also experience a dramatic decline in collagen and elastin production, the two main structural proteins found in the skin that give it plumpness and elasticity. Now that you’ve committed to exfoliating, the next step is to boost collagen production to keep the skin firm, give it bounce and a healthy thickness. We know of no better way than by adding a retinoid to the nightly routine. Our favorite is gentle but potent Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging Retinal serum, a miracle in a bottle if there ever was one. Our friends tell us that this one serum has made the most marked improvements in their skin while garnering the most compliments and questions on how they get their skin to glow!
- Keep Up with your Daily Sunscreen. This is the number one thing we can use to keep the signs of aging at bay. Ideally, we would have applied this every day, even in our teens, but the truth is that it’s never too late to start. Whether you use a dedicated sunscreen or one that is combined with a moisturizer, it’s essential to choose a stable, broad-spectrum formulation every day, rain or shine, summer or winter. The UVA rays that cause photoaging (as opposed the UVB ones that cause burning) are just as strong in the warm seasons as in the cold ones. You’ll be hard pressed to find a line more effective and with a range of choice for all skin types than perennial favorite, Anthelios.
- Decrease your Stress Levels. Believe it or not, your skin is a stress indicator. Depending on the strength of your immune system and genetic predispositions, major life changes as well as smaller but challenging incidents can trigger visible changes in your skin. Stress is a natural, even essential, part of life, but our mind and body cannot continually sustain stressful experiences without repercussions. Recognizing and addressing the signs of stress in your skin before they become detrimental to your well-being is important. Decreasing stress will not only show on your skin but will also reap benefits for your overall health. Start by getting more sleep, eating a diet with plenty of leafy greens, lean proteins and healthy fats, and carve some time out of your busy day to relax, even for a few moments.
- Get Some Exercise. A few years ago, an article was published in the New York Times focusing on research done by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, that demonstrated that steady exercise could stave off or even reverse the signs of early aging. Researchers discovered that after age 40, the men and women in the study group who exercised more frequently had markedly healthier and thinner stratum corneums and thicker dermis layers in their skin. In other words, their skin displayed characteristics more in keeping with 20 and 30 year olds, even if they were older than 65. These results were replicated when researchers took sedentary volunteers and had them embark upon an exercise program: their skin composition resembled that of a much younger person, compared to when they started.
Be patient and persevere. We’re positive you’ll reap the rewards.